CuiousPages - fiction and nonfiction
CuriousPages - fiction and nonfiction
John could take this no longer. He walked out into Clifton Village for lunch, found a secluded spot, ensured his mobile phone was set to conceal his number and phoned the acupuncturist. They agreed to meet, but John insisted on an after-dark meeting in a location on the far side of Bristol, lest he be seen “consorting with the enemy.” John went burdened with a backpack bulging with reports of drug trials and other supporting evidence which he had put together in the two days before their meeting, all of which served no purpose but to encumber him, since the acupuncturist simply pointed out that most drugs were deliberately designed to stop the body from working in some way, which John could not deny, and that in the long term this approach could only damage the patient’s health, since the body was being prevented from functioning normally.
“But that is healing,” protested John. “You find out what’s wrong and then stop it from happening!”
“No,” said the other, still managing to remain calm, “That approach only suppresses the immediate symptoms.”
“But that’s healing!” said John, at a loss.
“It isn’t healing. Healing is returning the organ functions to normal. It isn’t randomly applying chemicals to stop the body from working…”
“But they’re not random—” interrupted John.
“…to stop the body from working in the hope that its functioning will be blocked to the extent that the poor patient’s symptoms can’t be expressed.”
“But that’s…. But they’re not random. They’re carefully worked out,” banging his hand on his stack of papers. “This is all nonsense.”
“They’re random because your understanding of the body’s chemistry is so limited you don’t know the full effects you’ll have on it. Take the asthma example. Asthma is usually caused by a weakness in the kidneys, not the lungs. But you imagine the problem is in the lungs, so you apply bronchodilator inhalers to expand the airways in the lungs which gives short term relief, but it doesn’t tackle the underlying cause. And each time the drug is taken, it weakens the lungs and eventually the lungs become so weak that some patients may even die. But we cure the asthma by strengthening the kidney function, which was the cause of the problem. With your approach, your—understandable—ignorance only harms the patient’s health.”
“Understandable— You—”
 
Inside the house, Sally Softly was lying on the living‑room floor, having stopped gasping alarmingly. As her legs dropped to the floor, she noticed something did not seem right with her tracksuit (she was mistakenly wearing the top and bottom parts from two different suits, and the bottom part was on inside out). She tugged at the suit for a moment, trying to correct it, but only managed to twist one of the sleeves back to front. She shrugged, left it as it was and thought about Peter’s return. She imagined him entering the room, sitting on the sofa and ignoring her to try to trick her into thinking—only thinking, mind—she was ugly.
A few minutes later, she heard the front door, then the living‑room door. She turned her head away, determined not to speak first, and listened to him crossing over to the sofa and slumping into it. She could hear only his breathing, which sounded troubled, as though he had been chasing after something he could not catch. And he then sat there, simply breathing, as though trying to enrage her, which he achieved (Listen to him—he’s trying to get me to talk first—that’s what he’s doing. And now listen to him—he’s now breathing in a way that emphasizes the fact that he’s just breathing. And he’s doing this to try to annoy me. Well, he’s not getting away with sitting there just breathing like this; no, I can just breathe for as long as he can). She started breathing as loudly as she could, echoing each of his breaths but ensuring each echo was louder than the original.
Peter watched her lying on the floor, looking down at that body he used to love so much, that he still did love, only now she was possessed by one of those monsters—which seemed to have slowly grown inside her for years, so that the person he once knew was now smothered by it.

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